If you are reading this you are blessed. No matter what the day brings- good or bad- you are blessed to be alive and experience it. That’s what I thought about this morning as Gary and I watched the weather report and he commented, “Another day. Work and heat.” Yes, indeed, but another day. That’s the important part. Another chance to live and work and enjoy life!
I guess I was in that sort of mood because we watched “The Bucket List” last night. It was enjoyable, but much more somber and thought-provoking than I had imagined. If you haven’t seen the previews, it’s about two men diagnosed with cancer and given just months to live. They make a list of things they want to see and do before they “kick the bucket”. The movie trailer shows them skydiving and driving race cars and having a great time. But the movie is much deeper than that. They also have some relationships to repair and truths to discover about the lives they’ve lead.
Gary and I also took some photos at the cemetery yesterday and I realized how many wonderful people are buried in the cemetery at Caddo. I’ve researched them and heard stories about them. I knew many of them, and of course I have family members buried there. I wonder sometimes when I’m taking a headstone photo, if the person buried below me appreciated how wonderful their life was and how much joy they brought to others. We can get so caught up in the problems of our lives that we sometimes overlook the joy.
Do you deserve to be joyful? I think that’s what stops some people from embracing the joy in their life. Problems are something to be solved. They require action. Problems give us something to do. And deep down, even if it’s an audit from the IRS, we feel like we somehow deserve it. The Bible talks about the evil nature of man and we all realize we are capable of unspeakable things. But joy…
Joy is something we experience at the core of our being. It’s something we accept and usually appreciate, but we’re a bit wary of it. We seldom do anything to create joy. It most often comes to us from others or from nature or from deep within our soul. Perhaps that’s why so many of us resist it- if you don’t work for it, how can you deserve it? And if you don’t deserve it, how can you embrace it?
I guess I should back up a bit and explain that I see a major difference between joy and happiness. Happiness is temporary and fleeting. Eating ice cream makes me happy. Finding a quarter on the ground makes me happy. Watching a funny movie makes me happy. We have moments of happiness, degrees of happiness. Happiness is the sensation that most often results from an accomplishment or acquisition. But joy…
Joy is a raw, pure awareness of deep fulfillment brought about by true righteousness. Joy is the happiness we don’t accomplish. Joy is the happiness we don’t acquire. Joy is the happiness we don’t understand. It’s the happiness we don’t deserve. Joy comes from God. The difference between happiness and joy is the difference between finding out you are pregnant and kissing your healthy newborn. You might feel like you accomplished the first part, but you know the result is truly a gift from God.
I’ve carried a bookmark in my Bible for over twenty years. It says “Weeping my endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Psalm 30:5
Joy is watching the sun rise over the pond and knowing you’ve been given a precious gift…another day.